Sitting at a coffee shop last week I picked up a sachet of sugar and read the quote printed on the back, ‘You reap what you sow’. My heart sunk a little when I considered how many good people I coach who give so much of themselves to others and yet express that self love and happiness eludes them.
I allowed myself to become curious about this saying and I recognised its message was double-barrelled. I first interpreted the saying as serving others but I hadn’t considered what it would mean if I regarded it as ‘self-serving’. Self-love is a phrase that is discussed at length. A walk through any popular book shop will confirm the desire that we, as people, express in trying to not only understand it, but how to practice it. It begs the question, “How many seeds of self-love and self-respect are we sowing into our own lives on a daily basis?”
Self love and Giving Inwards
I agree 100% with the saying, ‘You reap what you sow’ but it’s important that we begin to realise that this applies not only to others but to ourselves too. As I began to reflect on the week, I recognised that I had ‘given outwards’ in abundance, and had yet sowed very few seeds ‘inwards’. For some reason most people are more comfortable to sow seeds into the lives of others while disregarding the need to plant and water seeds within themselves. Take a brief 5 minutes to reflect on your past week – how many seeds of kindness, forgiveness and acceptance for yourself have you planted? We only begin to notice the dehydration within ourselves when we consider that we should be planting these seeds on a daily basis.
What form could these seeds take?
- Self-compassion for our ‘perceived’ flaws
- Questioning our inner-critic and choosing whether to accept or reject what it has to say
(We seem to trust our inner-critic more so than any other voice but forget that it’s also this voice which lies to us the most. Don’t simply accept what it has to say, question its ‘truth’).
- Take credit for the courage you’ve shown in past trying circumstances which you’ve walked through.
- Take some time out and just be with you – go for a walk, listen music and unplug
- Celebrate your gifts, talents and individual uniqueness in whatever form they may take
It’s taken me years to accept that if I don’t allow myself the space and time to self-sow in acceptance of me, as I am (which is foundational to self-love), then I can’t expect to reap acceptance and an overall sense of well-being. Give yourself permission to celebrate ‘you’ as often as you can and sow these vital seeds of self-love. I promise you, in time, your Spring will come in time.
The greatest irony with self-love is that when we practice it within, our ability to sow into the lives of others becomes more substantial. Our capacity to love others begins with loving and appreciating ourselves first.
So, ask yourself the following questions:
- How often am I planting healthy seeds and allowing them the space to take root and grow?
- Am I watering them on a daily basis in preparation for the season of reaping to come?
Remember to become aware of the conversations you have with yourself and question if they are of quality seed. Remember that salt looks like sugar, so when those seeds of doubt arise, choose to put down the salt and pick up your sugar instead.
Richard is an ICF qualified Ontological Coach. To book a 1:1 coaching session with Richard email him on email@example.com
Read more blogs by Richard’s by clicking this link